What is it?
Anthology Ally is a tool which integrates with Moodle to help you check that the content in your course is inclusive and digitally accessible. Ally automatically scans your original content (e.g. PowerPoints, Word Documents and PDFs), and performs a series of steps to advise on their accessibility:
- It provides staff with accessibility scores for your entire course content (this can only be seen by staff and not by students!) It also provides quick-tips to make content more accessible
- It gives staff feedback on how to improve your accessibility
Although Ally is not a solution for all accessibility issues (see Writing Accessible Technical Content), you can use it as an indication of how accessible your content is and what changes can be made to improve this. Remember: only staff can see the accessibility scores, and this is to be used to help address key accessibility issues with course content.
How might I use it?
Check the accessibility of individual files
Staff will see a small metre icon next to any uploaded content giving an indication of how accessible it is:
|Low (0-33%) There are severe accessibility issues.|
|Medium (34-66%) The file is somewhat accessible and needs improvement.|
|High (67-99%) The file is accessible but more improvements are possible.|
|Perfect (100%) Ally didn't identify any accessibility issues but further improvements may still be possible.|
Choosing this icon will detail issues along with helpful guidance and a simple interface to fix them.
Students do not see accessibility indicators. We do not expect staff to make all of the course content 100% accessible. Instead, use the course and individual content reports to build up a picture of the accessibility of your course content, and which steps you need to make to improve the accessibility scores. Often a few simple steps (such as using alt-text for images) can have a really big impact, and again Ally provides these types of tips in the context of your course and course content.
What are the pros & cons?
- Staff have a tool that highlights accessibility issues and quick fixes to improve accessibility
- Not all files can generate an alternative format (e.g. PDFs compiled in LaTeX)
- The accessibility score is automatically generated and can contain false positives
- Content can not be automatically improved -staff will need to make the changes to the original content files
- Read case studies from institutions who have used Blackboard Ally to create inclusive learning environments.
- JISC: Accessibility regulations - what you need to know
- Government guidelines: Understanding accessibility requirements for public sector bodies
Further training and guidance
Opportunities and support on the Digital Accessibility hub page
- Support the Needs of all Learners
- Accessibility and Inclusivity
Ally scores screencast [1 min 36 secs]
UK Professional Skills Framework
For advice on Blackboard Ally to enhance learning, teaching and assessment contact the TEL team: firstname.lastname@example.org